Monday, February 15, 2010

Fake Shopping

If you follow me on Twitter or on Facebook, you know that today, I attempted to order a chocolate brown sweater with pink cabbage roses from Garnet Hill, an online catalog.

What you don't know, unless you are my daughter, Katie, is that this was a very big deal.

Like so many American families, times at our house are tighter than usual. But even during our best financial times, I find it hard to buy things for myself. And an even worse time buying them retail.

Oh, I get my kids what they need. I make sure my parents have the little treats they need to feel that their lives are still worth living even though, right now, they're both living in a nursing home. I make sure the refrigerator is stocked with healthy food. But when it comes to buying things for myself, I just...

I have a closet full of beautiful things. But unless I get it on sale, for a great price, it just seems... frivolous. So, I satisfy my shopping urge... virtually.

A catalog arrives, I make a cup of tea. I sit down and, carefully consider my choices of color, size and outfit coordination, I fill out the order form. When my choices overflow the form, as they always do, I use another sheet of paper.

I fake order Eileen Fisher tunics and leggings, and cashmere cardigans in colors that actually look good on someone like me (not blonde, not 5'10" or size 0.) I order a pair of soft leather boots and a pair of Gentle Souls shoes. I order a set of Hanro underwear. Once, I even fake-ordered a cashmere bathrobe. I know, crazy, right?

My fantasy bedroom is fake furnished with Washed linen bedding and a puffy white down blanket. The fantasy carpet runnerr between my living room and my husband's office is spangled with flowers. And every morning, I pad down its length in my fantasy pair of Haflinger boiled wool mules with polka dots.

When I've reached the last page, I put my empty tea cup in the sink and place the catalog (and my list and order form) in the recycling bin.

By a wide margin, most of my fake ordering has focused on the Garnet Hill catalog which, though it offers much at my taste level, is kinda pricey. At least, it seems that way to a person like me, used to shopping half price day at the thrift store where, most of the time, I find the items I fake ordered (or a reasonable substitute).

This how visualization exercises like this work. You SEE yourself wearing or using the item you long for and it manifests. That or your mother gives them to you on your birthday.

But I digress...

Today I was going to order something in real life.

I logged on and found the sweater I wanted, which was, to my delight, on sale for only 39 dollars! I selected color, size, shipping option. I filled out my address and entered my debit card number. Finally, I let myself press the Submit Order button.

We're sorry, the screen informed me. That item is no longer in our inventory.


Two hours later, I'm still disappointed. That sweater would have looked great on me - would have enhanced my winter coloring and brought out my eyes. I would have worn it to dinner with my husband, and to work. I would have... oh, never mind. I'm going back to fake shopping. It's so much more... effective.

So, if anyone sees this sweater in the Autumn Bloom print at the thrift store, please let me know.


MetalRocks said...

Wonderful post!! I understand this so well-my hubby's salary was cut in half and I HAD to build my on-line business so we could eat.

The idea of fake-shopping has a HUGE appeal! Thank you for a marvelous tool in manifesting!

Creative, inventive & smart - that's you! Thanks so much for sharing!! And please fake-shop at my stop anytime you like!

All the Best

Lisa Adams said...

I wish I had this in my closet. I would send it to you, FedEx, right now. Don't be discouraged. Next time you see something you like, order it right away. Either you will be so happy you got yourself a treat you deserved or you will see that it just wasn't as great as it looked in the catalog. That happens often in real life, but never in fantasy life. xoxo I hope I see it.

The Veggie Queen said...


You are a woman after my own heart regarding half price at the thrift store. I don't do any fake shopping because I can fill my fantasy life without a catalog.
Thrift shopping is great because there is what there is -- no wishing that they had the great suit from Neiman Marcus (that I saw yesterday) for $20 in another size. It's reality at its best, and worst. But you don't have to feel badly about wearing that suit once and sending it back to the store, or buying a sweater that's good enough to only wear around the house because it's a little big, or wearing cashmere sweat pants that are way too big but feel great that only cost $3.
I dress well and no one needs to know why or how. It's not what everyone else wears either.
So, don't fret your sweater, there's always another sweater waiting for you -- in reality or virtually.

Brenda said...

That's what's crazy about online sales. They're fake, too! My size is ALWAYS unavailable when it's on sale.

Marsha Halperin Epstein said...

I hung on to very detail in this post as I felt kinship and empathy with each word and feeling expressed. We live on a very fixed and modest income as my business has been limited by the down economy and on-line nanny services. My husband is retired and does receive a pension.

Shopping is a thing of the past and I have never considered "fake shopping" but think I might take it up as I love beautiful clothing and home goods.

I am hoping that another option comes up and you can make a real purchase that will delight and inspire as much as the sweater lost.

Loved "The Sweater"


Susan said...

What a great post. I have taken to shopping at my own house. Seriously, during the good times, I over bought everything. Now, I have a ton of fun finding things that I have sometimes never used.

I will keep my eye out for that sweater...

Lisa said...

My kids get so tired of asking for something only to hear me say "Is it on sale?" My sister used to work in a department store. I would show her things I liked and she would keep on eye on them for me. When they reached 75%, then she'd put them aside and call me. I miss that job she had!

Cathy Ross said...


This is classic :) I do the exact same thing, but usually it's with my fantasy vacation. I allow myself to buy those coffee table books on Europe and Greece and Castles along the Rhine for $7.99 at Barnes & Noble, then I make myself a pot of coffee early in the morning, put a squirt of low fat whipped cream (makes me feel like I'm having a cappucino in Florence on a stone walk under an umbrella - pg. 47) and I pour through the pages of these beautiful books and pretend and dream of being there in person!! It kinda works ya know. That whole visualization thing. I even wrote a post on this in "Truffes and Tea" and got mega hits :) "How I go to Europe any time I want for $7.99"

I suspect an even more perfect sweater at an even more perfect price will find it's way into your life real soon.

Have a great day...

Cathy (Ross)

French Shelter said...

That is sadness, true true.

Funnily, I just posted about
my new addition to my hardly
added to wardrobe:

My Batman Hoodie!!!!

Oh Yeah!!!!!


Katie O said...

dont you
dont you
dont you
give up on your real shopping plan which made you giggly and smiley.
get the next item on the list.
good morning.
i love you.

Amy Oscar said...

Tail between my legs... admonished by Katie O., aforementioned daughter: Don't worry, not giving up on shopping. In fact, inspired by my own blog post, I drove 40 minutes to the Eileen Fisher outlet yesterday and stocked up (on sale!)

Amy Oscar said...

To everyone else, thank you SOOOO much for posting comments on this one. Sometimes, I write something that I am not quite sure is "important' enough to post. You are teaching me so much about what resonates, what matters.

Clearly, fake shopping is key.

PS I still plan to get those Linen Sheets one day.

Trish said...

I just know there are angels in our computers that save us from ourselves! LOL

Amy Oscar said...

Yes, Trish. There certainly are!